Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Art of Robert Foster, Part I

Robert Foster produced only a handful of science fiction covers.  The most inventive graced a span of Frederik Pohl novels and short story collections released by Ballantine Books in the late 60s.  Sadly, I can find no information about the artist himself online (if you do please let me know).  Here’s a selection of the most interesting, haunting, and spectacular…

Part II (here)

Mechanical man — a bedraggled simulacra. Nude woman — embodiment of flesh.  A lunar landscape greets them…

(ranks among my favorite covers of all time)

(Cover for the 1969 edition of Turn Left at Thursday (1961), Frederik Pohl)

A floating mechanical hybrid, alien planet, humans emerging (portals?)…

(Cover for the 1972 edition of The Burning (1971), James E. Gunn)

Unusual instruments guiding…. what?  A production emerging from test tubes and machines?

(Cover for the 1969 edition of Tomorrow Times Seven (1959), Frederik Pohl)

Three women judge a man and his creations?  Gossamer folds of hair….

(Cover for the 1969 edition of A Plague of Pythons (1962), Frederik Pohl)

Unusual underwear.  Again, machines.

(Cover for the 1969 edition of The Abominable Earthman (1963), Frederik Pohl)

Another great cover!

(Cover for 1969 edition of The Age of the Pussyfoot (1969), Frederik Pohl)

Peacock/tie dye (ish) shirt kind of ruins the effect….

(Cover for the 1968 edition of Thorns (1968), Robert Silverberg)

Run! Run! Through the elephant ear plants!

(Cover for 1969 edition of Light a Last Candle (1969), Vincent King)

This cover looks like the work of Robert Foster however it is uncredited….  Perhaps just speculation on my part.

(Uncredited cover for the 1978 edition of The Female Man (1975). Joanna Russ)

Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art Index

18 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Art of Robert Foster, Part I”

    1. Thanks for the kind comments! Thanks for stopping by — its greatly appreciated….

      The first is by far the best. WIthout a doubt — the others are pretty good as well. I wanted to post the span of Foster’s works.

  1. That first Pohl book is great, you are correct! And now that I look at these I think I may have an anthology with one of his covers on it. I’ll have to look at it closer when I get home but my recollection of it is that it has the thematic scheme of these and has a slightly more clothed woman on the cover that does look a lot like the woman on Thorns.

  2. Hi, Im Robert Foster’s niece, Jody. Just stumbled upon this article . My Uncle Bob was a great guy, passed away wheen i was in high school. Thanks for honoring him with this article- good stuff! Glad to see the Tom Watson link above, he is a super nice guy!.

    1. Hello…I am Robert Foster’s daughter, Christina. Thanks for recognizing my Father’s great art ability and talents. He was taken from us too soon,
      50 years old and we miss him deeply…I feel honored to be his daughter!

      1. Thanks so much for your kind words! And, I offer my condolences. Some of your father’s covers are absolutely gorgeous — for example, the one I pointed out in the post Pohl’s Turn Left at Thursday is one of my favorites and the cover for the 1971 edition of The Dakota Project in the second part of my series on him (https://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/adventures-in-science-fiction-cover-art-the-art-of-robert-foster-part-ii/).

    2. Thanks for the kind words. Your uncle was quite the artist! Incredibly original collages…. Watson shared more about him and his art in his comments to my second post. Thanks again.

    3. Hi Jody–

      I was Bob’s other niece, by marriage. I remember him as a very sweet person (I was just a little girl when he died).

      He often worked my aunt’s face into cover illustrations, my favourite the cover for The Poseidon Adventure (you can see a woman sporting a pixie cut peering out of the upside-down porthole).

      Thank you for this article, Mr. Boaz.

      –J

  3. Hello. I am Robert Fosters niece and I live with his surviving brother Edward Thomas Foster. Should you ever want information on my Uncle; my father, to whom he was quite close would be a font of information. Thank you and Mr. Watson for honoring a lovely and talented man we lost too soon. My father would like me to provide you with his e-mail address: cfoster151@cox.net. Thank you again. Laura Melissa Foster

    1. Thanks for the comment and offer! I’ll be sure to email Edward soon. I’m tempted to come up with a series of question that might feature in a post about Robert Foster if that is something Edward might want to do. Thanks again!

  4. Hi I am Robert Foster’s niece- Johanna Foster Espitia He was my dad’s older brother. He passed away after a brief illness back in the 70’s. he was a wonderful man and I remember him fondly. He was resideing in NYC and passed away in his apt. Just prior to his passing , he had been out to visit us in California. There are numerous artists in our family, I being one of them, although I don’t make my living at it. He also did numerous covers for Dell , such as the Posiedon adventure, etc.

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